The Botswana Football Association (BFA) is preparing to hold a virtual meeting, following recent recommendations from the Presidential COVID-19 Task Force, Mmegi Sport has learnt.
Sipho Showa, a member of the Task Force communication team, said they had met with BFA representatives recently and recommended the holding of a virtual meeting.
“The BFA met with the Task Force some days back and was advised that under the circumstances, the best option to hold its General Assembly would be by virtual means. However, we understand the BFA elected not to go ahead with its meeting,” Showa said.
The BFA was supposed to hold the meeting on August 8, but had to postpone to August 22, due to electoral board issues.Due to a lockdown imposed on the Greater Gaborone, the meeting was then postponed indefinitely. The BFA has already met with the Ministry of Youth Empowerment, Sport and Culture Development (MYSC) and the Botswana National Sport Commission (BNSC) on the holding of a virtual meeting.
An official at MYSC said modalities of holding a virtual meeting are at an advanced stage, with a team set up to put together logistics.
“All possible avenues are being explored and there is a team working with officials from BFA and BNSC on holding a virtual meeting. Logistics like which networks to be used, the actual voting process, are under consideration, and should be concluded soon,” the source said.
BFA marketing and public relations officer, Tumo Mpatane said the association was not in a position to comment on the matter.
One of the presidential candidates, Ookeditse Malesu wrote to the COVID-19 Task Force arguing, the General Assembly could now go ahead if moved to Gaborone. The initial venue was Francistown. “A lot is at a standstill at BFA. FIFA does not give out grants if the general assembly is not held. Out of the more than P17 million, we got only a third from FIFA,” Malesu told Mmegi Sport. He said there was no letter from FIFA indicating that the elections can only proceed once it was safe to do so. “They
They are making it difficult for the incoming committee,” Malesu said.
The BFA is, however, in possession of a letter from FIFA, written in May, giving the committee the right to remain in office until elections are held. Malesu said he wrote to the Task Force, motivated by the need to hold the assembly in the face of easing of COVID-19 restrictions.
In the letter, Malesu argues that the livelihoods of players are being affected and has requested the Task Force to waive the holding of the congress.
He proposes that the meeting be held in Gaborone where the number of guests should be reduced to 100.
The letter was co-signed by another presidential candidate, Tebogo Sebego.
In response, BFA’s Mpatane shoots down queries raised by Malesu to the committee.
“It is not true that FIFA has withheld any funding due to the BFA on account that the latter has not yet held its annual ordinary general assembly. The fact of the matter is that FIFA has released BFA’s annual operation subvention in January 2020 ($500,000) and the subsequent one $500,000 in May 2020.
It should be noted that FIFA releases these in two tranches, i.e, January and July of the reporting year. This year’s second tranche was released earlier in May to assist member associations to deal with the adverse effects of COVID-19,” Mpatane said.
BFA said all other monies have been released, with the final batch of $500,000 expected in January 2021.
“The only funding that is still outstanding is the women football grant, which is being processed and its non-disbursement has nothing to do with the BFA holding its Ordinary General Assembly,” Mpatane added.
It is said the BFA is not amused that Malesu raised issues with the Task Force before going through the BFA or BNSC. Malesu faces former president, Sebego and incumbent, Maclean Letshwiti in a much-anticipated contest.